At Space Studio West London, students don’t just aim high – they reach for the stars.
The school is home to 300 students aged between 14 to 18 years old who regard the academy as the final frontier for a first-class education with a focus on maths, science and engineering.
There is also an emphasis on one-to-one learning, and the school’s innovative teaching model allows it to nurture the engineers, scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and aerospace experts of the future.
SSWL’s annual school trips include a 10-day US visit to NASA which provides students with an experience that is out of this world. Included in the itinerary are behind-the-scenes visits to the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, where students liaise with scientists and engineers. Other visits include the National Space Centre, Brooklands Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Army Flying Museum.
There are also plenty of opportunities for talent to flourish; earlier this year, student Suvarunika Thirumaran, 17, was awarded a ‘Most Ambitious’ TEDI-London award after participating in a Thinking Ahead: Light Up! programme. The bright teenager used popular video game Minecraft to design a community building centred around helping those with dementia.
Suvarunika does not hesitate to credit the support from SSWL for her success, commenting: ‘’Space Studio West London opens doors in a way that other schools don’t. There is so much support and that has really helped with my confidence and made me believe in myself more and not shy away from tackling projects or trying subjects.’’
Professor Judy Draper, Dean & CEO of TEDI-London, judged the entries and was also impressed with Suvarunika’s ability, noting: ‘’I am highly impressed by Suvarunika’s skills. I know that her ability and skills will fit well in a university setting and would be an excellent addition to any organisation.’’
Delivering a dynamic curriculum
SSWL’s curriculum design is based on project-based working through a mix of discrete subject lessons and project style working. Space Studio West London’s resources are extensive and varied, highlights include the flight simulator rooms and the fully equipped engineering room including CAD CAM.
Close links with employers in the aerospace, science and technology sectors support students well with preparation for their future working life. Surrey Satellite technology limited, British Airways, BP, Heathrow, the National Space Academy and National Physical Laboratories are just a handful of the businesses SSWL works with.
It’s a combination that leads to academic excellence and high attainment – reflected in the school’s fantastic exam results this year. Students regularly secure places at prestigious universities including those in the Russell Group and Cambridge.
Some 37% of A-level students achieved A* to A, 56% achieved A* to B and 81% secured A* to C. An equally impressive 76% of GCSE students at SSWL achieved Grade 4 or above in English and Maths with 55% gaining Grade 5 or above – the highest percentage of Grade 5+ in the school’s history.
In a reflection of the school’s prowess in science subjects, 100% of students achieved Grade 4+ in Biology, Physics and Chemistry! Over 90% scored 5+ in these subjects and over 40% acquired Grade 7+.
Commenting on the successes of his students, Principal Andy Morgan said: ‘’We are really proud of all the students, these are fantastic and well-deserved results at the end of a really difficult year. Students achieved the grades they needed to progress to the next stage of their lives whether this is university, college, an apprenticeship, or continuing their studies at Space Studio.
“Space Studio is a calm, safe and productive learning environment where pupils work collaboratively with each other, their teachers and industry mentors. Expectations are high. Opportunities for project-based learning with industry professionals, and work placement are numerous.’’
Unique approach to learning
Former Space Studio West London student Rory Cockshaw believes it is the school’s unique approach to learning that best equipped him to survive and thrive at Cambridge University. Rory is studying alongside those who have attended some of the most prestigious and expensive public schools in the country.
Rory said: “The close working relationships between staff and students, and opportunities for one-to-one work with teachers at Space Studio is comparable to the student experience at the University of Cambridge and are teaching styles that universities like Cambridge and Oxford are renowned for.
“Space Studio is not a regular state comprehensive, and the modern style of teaching and learning, combined with the tailoring of teaching to each student’s respective needs, equipped me well academically, but also in confidence and self-worth.’’
To find out more about Space Studio West London, visit www.spacestudiowestlondon.org. There are currently places available for Year 10 and Year 12 students to start September 2021 and classes are kept to no more than 25 pupils.